Sam Ryder maintained the lead at the Farmers Insurance Open and drew one step closer to winning on the PGA Tour for the first time. But to seal the deal, he will have to play his final round with one of the hottest golfers on the planet, Jon Rahm.
Ryder is 12-under-par 204 through three rounds in San Diego after shooting an even-par 72 at the South Course at Torrey Pines on Friday, while Rahm posted a 66 to surge into second place at 10-under 206.
Tony Finau posted the round of the day, a bogey-free 64, to shoot into third. He’s still four shots off the lead at 8 under.
Ryder had a three-stroke lead on the field entering the third round and limited his mistakes while missing opportunities to extend his edge. After a bogey at the par-4 second hole and a birdie at the par-5 sixth, the 33-year-old parred his final 12 holes.
He couldn’t capitalize on any of the three remaining par-5 holes, missing an 8-foot birdie putt at No. 13 and an 11-footer on the 18th. He also missed an 11-foot birdie try at the par-4 14th.
“Today it’s just a different level of pressure,” Ryder said. “I didn’t feel like I had to go try and make something happen or press, you know, so I didn’t panic when I made a bogey on 2 and I kind of just adjusted to the round and kind of got a feel for where I was at with my swing and my game. Hit some really good shots, felt like I could have made a couple more putts, but overall all I’m very pleased.”
Rahm did one better than his second-round 67. After playing the first five holes in even par, he went 5 under over the next four with three straight birdies and a 12-foot eagle putt at the par-5 ninth.
The world No. 3 added another mid-range birdie putt at No. 15 while avoiding bogey the rest of the way.
“Goal is to catch up as much as possible,” Rahm said. “I was eight shots (behind Ryder) starting the day, hopefully it’s only two starting tomorrow. And that was the goal. I did the job I needed to do on the last basically 23 holes of the tournament, which has given me a chance.”
Rahm won each of his past two starts on the PGA Tour and four of his past six worldwide. After earning the Spanish Open and DP World Tour Championship titles last fall, he started the new calendar year by winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Maui and The American Express last week.
Should he overtake Ryder and win Saturday, Rahm would be the first player to win three straight PGA Tour starts since Dustin Johnson in 2017.
It’s hardly out of the question at Torrey Pines, as Rahm won the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open and the 2021 U.S. Open, his lone major, at the course.
“They (fans) show up for me when I come out here. It’s very unique,” Rahm said. “Very few places where I feel like I’m in Spain and this is one of them. I get a lot of support and it’s very nice to see.”
Finau started his round on the back nine and made the turn in enviable fashion. Following consecutive birdies at Nos. 17 and 18, he holed out from the fairway at No. 1 for an eagle 2.
“It helps when you hole out,” Finau said. “I turned in 4 under, just a really clean back nine and hit the fairway on 1 and had 136 yards and was just a perfect little pitching wedge, a little flighted draw and hit it perfect and it landed right in the middle of the slope and just spun right in the hole. So that was really exciting. That’s when the round kind of got my attention, the juices started to flow a little bit as I was making kind of a run there.”
Tied for fourth at 7 under are Sungjae Im of South Korea (67 Friday), Collin Morikawa (70), Max Homa (71) and Sahith Theegala (71).
–Field Level Media